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Eight days prior to flying out to ALA Midwinter with my coworkers, I sat in a medical examination room being told by a doctor that I did indeed had the flu as well as now having pneumonia based on my chest x-ray. When asked about traveling to Seattle, her response was as long as you feel up to it there’s no reason why you can’t go. A week later feeling somewhat better, I was on the plane and my nightmarish trip to Seattle is one I won’t soon forget!

Boarding plane in GSO at 6 am Friday, Jan. 25…sitting on a grounded plane in GSO for close to an hour due to a wiring issue…running through the Atlanta airport to catch a connecting flight….missing my connecting flight to Seattle…coughing fits…being put on standby multiple times and waiting for my name to be called along with Mary Beth’s…more coughing…finally leaving ATL around 6 pm. I am very grateful to have had Mary Beth with me. She was a wonderful traveling companion and stayed with me even though she had an opportunity to get a seat on a 2:30 pm standby, and she also scored us some dinner vouchers as well. We finally got to our destination around 8:30 pm, and I was exhausted.

On Saturday, I attended the ANSS Subject and Bibliographic Access Committee of which I am co-chair. The committee developed a list of cataloging questions and topics to be answered in the upcoming months. Questions and topics include: treatment of sexual minorities, alternative genders, and queer studies in subject headings; implementation of RDA bibliographic records; what is FRAD and FRSAD; subject headings of the form “Psychology & …”; ethnomusicology. In the afternoon, I attended the Catalog Management Interest Group where panelists discussed gaining control of e-resources cataloging and using Google Refine for clean-up and reuse of one’s cataloging data when working on special cataloging projects. During the MARC Formats Transition Interest Group, OCLC’s Roy Tennant spoke on the problems with MARC’s 856 field (Electronic Location/Access). Does the URL in the 856 actually lead a user to the full text of an item? Public notes and materials specified are included subfields z and 3 respectively, but there are multiple of ways to indicate something is full text. Users need a clear understanding if something is full text and if it is accessible to all (i.e. access vs. gated access).

Sunday morning, I heard Dr. Temple Grandin speak at the Alexander Street Press breakfast. After seeing actress Claire Danes portray her in a movie, I was excited to hear her speak. She is an amazing individual. Following breakfast, I attended a discussion group on digital humanities (DH). Recently, I have been hearing this phrase used often, and I wanted to learn more about it. We broke into small groups to discuss what our individual institutions are doing. Some of the issues brought up in my group included:

  • support provided to faculty and how much support–how much should be invested in a professor’s research interest when there is the chance he/she may retire or move on
  • is there a faculty need or is it administrative posturing
  • what alliances are there on campus
  • more staff are needed to handle DH if there is a huge interest from faculty
  • retraining for librarians due to a lack of specific skills in this area; skills may not be applicable or transferable from one project to another–There was a current library school student in my group who said there were no DH classes in her school’s curriculum. However, she was taking classes in XML, linked data, relational database, metadata design.
  • space vs. service
  • what is DH’s definition–no real consensus on this
  • various models–who is doing the actual work

Monday morning I attended the Publisher/Vendor/Library Relations Interest Group Forum where a group of panelists discussed enhanced e-books. Enhanced e-books have additional content that comes bundled with the e-book (e.g. videos, slide shows, skills assessments). These add-ons can be delivered separately or integrated into core texts.

Despite all the coughing and feeling tired more quickly than usual, I did have a nice time in Seattle, but I was very glad to get back home to NC and grateful that the flight home was uneventful and trouble free.